Blue Ridge Parkway
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Cultural Heritage

Cultural Heritage at Doughton ParkThe Blue Ridge Parkway is a ribbon of road that weaves through the region’s vibrant living traditions. From Cherokee life and agricultural history to Southern Appalachian crafts and music, the Parkway’s 469 miles through Virginia and North Carolina offers many ways to explore rich traditions. 

The Parkway represents a “slice” of America, and each historic site or cabin is a snapshot of one time and one place. Cultural sites here represent about one hundred years – the early decades of the nineteenth century to the early decades of the twentieth century. Those who planned the Parkway and its scenic views thought that the most picturesque and quaint remnants of the past were the log cabins.

In a few places, the early designers removed larger houses and replaced them with smaller rough hewn cabins, complete with reflecting ponds. Although cabins were certainly here in the early days of mountain settlement, many were covered with siding and whitewashed before too many years.

It is also important to remember that there were more homes here in the past than we see today. At places like Rockcastle Gorge, Basin Cove, and the Peaks of Otter, communities of dozens of families lived and worked. Some lived in log houses, others in framed farm houses. In some cases, natural disasters such as the 1916 flood or the Chestnut blight devastated entire mountain communities.

As you visit the Parkway, the historic sites that capture your attention reveal many broad themes of Blue Ridge history. We hope you find stories that challenge you to think about the unique Appalachian culture, defined by arts, crafts, and music that persists in the region. The Cherokee culture that has populated the region and defined much of Appalachian history for thousands of years is preserved on the southern end of the Parkway and reflected in place names throughout the region.

According to some scholars, the herbal lore, basketry, and even some forms of dancing, so much a part of “traditional” Appalachian culture, have roots in the exchange of culture when Europeans and Native Americans met on the Appalachian frontier.

Perhaps the most important piece of advice is to slow down, listen, and take all of the stories you hear as part of the bigger Blue Ridge story. Together, these are stories that tell us of the richness and wealth of this ancient slice of America.

Visit the Blue Ridge National Heritage Area for more information about the region's rich cultural heritage.

Cherokee Cultural Heritage

Members of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians honor and cultivate traditions which have guided and supported their culture for a thousand years. Balancing the modern world with these ancient traditions, the Cherokee welcome millions of visitors each year while stewarding the delicate mountain landscape that is their ancestral home

Music Heritage

Live concerts, festivals and cultural events celebrate the region’s rich musical heritage throughout the year. The Blue Ridge Music Center at Milepost 213 features instrument making, song writing history and concerts that showcase the region’s music traditions such as old-time, bluegrass, ballad singing, blues and sacred music.

Crafts Heritage

Communities along the Parkway’s 469 miles keep living craft traditions alive through a variety of galleries, shops, and events. The Folk Art Center at Milepost 382 is home of the Southern Highland Craft Guild, featuring regional crafts, live demonstrations, and special events.

Agricultural Heritage

For thousands of years, Native Americans cultivated the fertile valleys along the Parkway. European immigrants brought agricultural practices with them as they settled in the mountains, but soon adopted and refined many Cherokee crops and techniques. This blending of immigrant agricultural practices with Native American traditions created a distinctive agricultural heritage. Farmers’ markets, restaurants featuring locally grown food and cultural tours along the Parkway highlight the region’s agricultural heritage.  

Natural Heritage

 Along the Blue Ridge Parkway, you will find:

  • Some of the oldest mountains in the world
  • The highest mountain peak in the eastern United States (Mount Mitchell)
  • The oldest river in North America (New River)
  • The deepest gorge east of the Grand Canyon (Linville Gorge)
  • The highest waterfall east of the Rockies (Whitewater Falls)
  • Abundant biodiversity

Calendar

<< April 2014 >>
Su Mo Tu We Th Fr Sa
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13 14 15 16 17

64th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 6:00 pm

Great Smoky Easter Arts & Crafts Show

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 11:00 am

Copy of "The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

"Laughter on the 23rd Floor"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm
18

Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales

Friday, April 18, 2014, 6:00 pm

64th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage

Friday, April 18, 2014

Great Smoky Easter Arts & Crafts Show

Friday, April 18, 2014

Peanuts the Easter Beagle Express Train Event

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Family Festival at Fontana

Friday, April 18, 2014

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Friday, April 18, 2014

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Friday, April 18, 2014, 11:00 am

Free Guided Walking Tours of Historic Lexington

Friday, April 18, 2014, 3:00 pm

Old Fort Mountain Music

Friday, April 18, 2014, 7:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, April 18, 2014, 7:00 pm

"Laughter on the 23rd Floor"

Friday, April 18, 2014, 8:00 pm
19

Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 6:00 pm

64th Annual Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Great Smoky Easter Arts & Crafts Show

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Peanuts the Easter Beagle Express Train Event

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Family Festival at Fontana

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

Catawba Falls Hike

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 9:30 am

Overmountain Victory Trail Hike

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 10:00 am

Bird Hike

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 10:00 am

Earth Day Celebration

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 10:00 am

Morning Walk, Evening Dance

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 10:30 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 11:00 am

Earth Day Music - Skiffle Creek: Folk Rock & Green Cities

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 1:00 pm

Make Room for Monarchs

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 2:00 pm

Classic Car Cruise-In

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 3:00 pm

"Laughter on the 23rd Floor"

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 8:00 pm

Dillsboro Easter Hat Parade

Saturday, April 19, 2014, 10:00 pm
<W
20

Earth Week

Sunday, April 20, 2014, 6:00 pm

Easter Family Festival at Fontana

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

Gatlinburg Easter Sunrise Service

Sunday, April 20, 2014, 6:00 am

Turkey Talk

Sunday, April 20, 2014, 10:00 am

Easter Service at Chateau Morrisette

Sunday, April 20, 2014, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Sunday, April 20, 2014, 11:00 am

Easter Brunch at Peaks of Otter

Sunday, April 20, 2014, 11:30 am

Loon Boat Tour

Sunday, April 20, 2014, 2:00 pm

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, April 20, 2014, 2:00 pm
21

Earth Week

Monday, April 21, 2014, 6:00 pm

Smoky Mountain Regional Bridge Conference

Monday, April 21, 2014

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Monday, April 21, 2014

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Monday, April 21, 2014, 11:00 am
22

Earth Week

Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 6:00 pm

Smoky Mountain Regional Bridge Conference

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 11:00 am
23

Earth Week

Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 6:00 pm

Smoky Mountain Regional Bridge Conference

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Wednesday, April 23, 2014, 11:00 am
24

MerleFest

Thursday, April 24, 2014, 6:00 pm

Earth Week

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Earth Day Festival

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Smoky Mountain Regional Bridge Conference

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Greyhounds in Gettysburg

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Marion Mountain Music

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Thursday, April 24, 2014, 11:00 am
25

MerleFest

Friday, April 25, 2014, 6:00 pm

87th Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Friday, April 25, 2014

Buchanan Civil War History Weekend

Friday, April 25, 2014

Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales

Friday, April 25, 2014

Earth Week

Friday, April 25, 2014

Smoky Mountain Regional Bridge Conference

Friday, April 25, 2014

NOC Spring Fling & ERA /Wave Sport Nantahala Open

Friday, April 25, 2014

Greyhounds in Gettysburg

Friday, April 25, 2014

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Friday, April 25, 2014

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

American Odyssey Relay Race

Friday, April 25, 2014, 7:30 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Friday, April 25, 2014, 11:00 am

Free Guided Walking Tours of Historic Lexington

Friday, April 25, 2014, 3:00 pm

Old Fort Mountain Music

Friday, April 25, 2014, 7:00 pm

Woody's Original Mountain Music

Friday, April 25, 2014, 7:00 pm

Earth Day 5K

Friday, April 25, 2014, 9:00 pm
26

MerleFest

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 6:00 pm

87th Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Buchanan Civil War History Weekend

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Smoky Mountain Tunes & Tales

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Earth Week

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Smoky Mountain Regional Bridge Conference

Saturday, April 26, 2014

NOC Spring Fling & ERA /Wave Sport Nantahala Open

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Greyhounds in Gettysburg

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

American Odyssey Relay Race

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 7:30 am

Birds & Blooms Guided Hikes

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 8:00 am

Boone Birding Festival

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 8:00 am

Mountain Adventure Winery Weekend

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 8:00 am

17th Annual Greening up the Mountains

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 8:00 am

Migratory Bird Day

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 8:30 am

Virginia Hot Glass Festival

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 9:00 am

Mountain Thunder Cat Show

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 9:00 am

Pioneer Day

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 9:00 am

Wine, Body & Soul

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 9:30 am

Earth Day at Peaks of Otter Lodge

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 10:00 am

Emerge and Fly

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 10:00 am

National Junior Ranger Day in the Smokies

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 10:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 11:00 am

Vineyard Deck Music Series - Melody Cox & The Days of Wine & Posies

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 1:00 pm

Rocktown Beer & Music Festival

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 2:30 pm

Nature Through Indian Eyes

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 3:00 pm
<W
27

MerleFest

Sunday, April 27, 2014, 6:00 pm

87th Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Buchanan Civil War History Weekend

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Earth Week

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Smoky Mountain Regional Bridge Conference

Sunday, April 27, 2014

NOC Spring Fling & ERA /Wave Sport Nantahala Open

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Greyhounds in Gettysburg

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

Annual Gettysburg North-South Marathon

Sunday, April 27, 2014, 6:00 am

Virginia Hot Glass Festival

Sunday, April 27, 2014, 10:00 am

Beautiful Butterflies

Sunday, April 27, 2014, 11:00 am

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Sunday, April 27, 2014, 11:00 am

Go Green Disc Golf Tournament

Sunday, April 27, 2014, 12:30 pm

Informal Jam on the Porch

Sunday, April 27, 2014, 2:00 pm

Junior Ranger Boot Camp

Sunday, April 27, 2014, 3:00 pm
28

87th Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Monday, April 28, 2014, 6:00 pm

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Monday, April 28, 2014

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Monday, April 28, 2014, 11:00 am
29

87th Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 6:00 pm

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Tuesday, April 29, 2014, 11:00 am
30

87th Annual Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival

Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 6:00 pm

Gatlinburg Smoky Mountain Spring: It’s a Spring Thing!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

"The Fantasticks"

Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 pm

Live Glassblowing Demonstrations

Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 11:00 am
     

Highlights & Happenings

  • Humpback Rocks, MP 5.8
  • Located at the northern end of the Blue Ridge Parkway, Humpback Rocks is an area rich in history, scenic beauty, and abundant hiking trails. Early European settlers forged a living from the native materials that flourished in the Appalachian Mountain
  • Mount Pisgah, MP 408
  • Mount Pisgah’s spectacular views, hiking trails, camping and the Mount Pisgah Inn make this area a popular destination for visitors along the Blue Ridge Parkway. The mountain and thousands of surrounding acres was originally purchased by indust
  • Folk Art Center, Milepost 382
  • Open year round, the Folk Art Center on the Blue Ridge Parkway showcases the finest in traditional and contemporary craft of the Southern Appalachians.
  • Parkway Visitor Center, MP 384
  • Visitors traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway can now make one stop to learn about the entire 469 miles and 73-year history of the Parkway. The Parkway Visitor Center opened in 2008 and unveiled innovative, high-tech interactive exhibits. The LEED-certif
  • Waterrock Knob, MP 451.2
  • An ideal spot for watching sunrise and sunsets across the rugged mountains, Waterrock Knob Visitor Center sits at almost 6,000 feet elevation. Exhibits, book sales, and a trail leading to the summit of Waterrock Knob await visitors. The last hik
  • Craggy Gardens, MP 364
  • These high elevation summits are home to spectacular floral displays. June and July are usually prime times to view the pink and purple blooms of rhododendron, but don’t despair if you miss the peak bloom. Violets, blackberry, May-apple, a
  • Peaks of Otter, MP 86
  • With stunning views, natural beauty, and the surrounding Jefferson National Forest, it’s no wonder the Peaks of Otter area has attracted people to the region for more than 8,000 years.
  • Nearby Accommodations
  • Explore the quaint towns and vibrant cities that the Blue Ridge Parkway weaves through, and a variety of lodging choices.
  • Attractions, Dining, Shopping & More
  • From fine arts to fun, experience the best places and activities to enhance your visit to the Blue Ridge Parkway region.
  • Fall Color - Tips for Leaf Season
  • Tips for planning your scenic drive or vacation to see the fall color along the Blue Ridge Parkway.
  • Camping
  • Camping is one way visitors traveling through the Blue Ridge Parkway can spend the night under the stars in one of America’s most beautiful natural settings.
  • Parkway Road Conditions
  • An open Parkway is a safe Parkway. Be sure to check road conditions online or by phone before you travel and during your visit.
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